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Vancouver Island alternative rock band shakes things up with new single

Victoria’s Shale will perform alongside Cold Fame at Nanaimo’s Terminal on Aug. 30
Kiarra O’Connor, left, Adam Baines, Rowan Hensley, Breanna Montague and Michael Voytash will perform as the alt-rock band Shale at the Terminal on Aug. 30 as they tour the province. (Stephon Mullett Photography)

A Victoria-based alternative-rock band has sought to capture the raw vulnerability of anxiety.

According to a release, Shale’s latest single Shake, released June 23, specifically tackles the “emotional overload” felt by vocalist Kiarra O’Connor during her first year of university.

“The song digs deep into the emotional tapestry of overwhelm versus commitment, giving up versus pushing through,” O’Connor said in the release.

Without first-hand experience, or knowing the story behind it, Shake might be mistaken for a “break-up song,” given that stress felt during the first year of university is rarely explored in music.

“The vulnerability in the first verse is heightened by the chorus, which implies that they don’t want to admit that they are hurting. They feel stuck, because they want to give up the facade of being OK but they also don’t want to hurt more,” noted the release. “Yet the next two verses seem to show an internal battle of being torn between staying stuck, giving up, and hoping for something better. The contrast is demonstrated by O’ Connor’s soft bleak sounding vocals in the second verse that grow braver by the third verse. These verses are given an even greater emotional impact with a brief guitar solo that follows.”

The single was mixed by Darrell Thorp, known for his work on the Foo Fighters’ 2023 album, and mastered by Brian Lucey, who has worked with bands the Black Keys and Cage the Elephant.

According to the release, Shale formed approximately four years ago in 2019, when drummer Michael Voytash and keyboardist Rowan Hensley served as theatre technicians at Edward Milne Community School for a production of Grease and saw O’Connor perform as the female lead. Roughly three years later in 2022, the group recorded their first EP Wither and released their first single To the Ground, which would be streamed more than 4,000 times in the first five days.

Shale is touring through the province with performances at the Riot of the Roof Festival in Vernon and the Sooke Music Festival in late August and early September, respectively. They also performed on the last day of Lake Cowichan’s Laketown Shakedown festival, along with Shaggy, Aqua and Base Collective.

The alt-rockers will share the stage with Victoria-based indie rock band Cold Fame at the Terminal in Nanaimo on Wednesday, Aug. 30, starting at 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $10 at the door.

READ MORE: ‘Villainous’ Vancouver Island rock band bringing unapologetic show to town

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About the Author: Nanaimo Bulletin News Staff

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